For soldier, home makeover presents a little piece of paradise
StoneMakers Corp. CEO David Montoya tells Matt and Katie Jordan about the features of their new backyard makeover at their Epping home Thursday afternoon. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)
Jordan and his wife, Katie, both 24, were greeted outside their Epping home by a crowd of sweaty landscapers, family, friends and a large white banner in the backyard with the message, “StoneMakers Thanks Our Heroes.”
“What the heck?” Jordan said as the crowd moved away from the newly installed stone steps to reveal an amazing backyard makeover that looked a lot like something you'd see on a TV show.
Manchester-based StoneMakers Corp. brought together a team of nearly 40 dealers and others in the landscaping industry — many of them veterans — to build a backyard oasis, complete with waterfall, pond, bridge, log bench, a large fire pit resembling a tree stump, a stone walkway, retaining wall and plants.
The new backyard was a $50,000 gift given as a surprise by StoneMakers and other businesses that pitched in to thank Jordan for his military service.
Jordan was medically retired in July 2011 after his lower right leg was shattered by a roadside bomb while he was patrolling in Iraq in 2009. Doctors couldn't save his lower leg, which was amputated just below the knee in August 2010. Jordan, who works as a correctional officer at the Rockingham County jail, now has a prosthetic leg and has learned to walk again.
He's also the kind of guy who doesn't quit — an attitude that impressed StoneMakers' owner and CEO David Montoya, who recently came up with the idea of donating a yard makeover to a disabled veteran once a month.
“Everybody got involved when they heard the story,” Montoya said. “They said, 'Sure, what can we do?' He's a guy who doesn't give up, a guy who wants to keep on.”
Montoya contacted Jordan's wife and began quietly making plans for the makeover. To keep it a surprise, the Jordans were sent on a mini-honeymoon in Florida on Monday.
As soon as they left, the crews moved in. The backyard had some pavers used for a small patio and a stone wall, but that was about it.
The stone features, waterfall and fire pit were all made from concrete donated by Aggregate Industries. Others who pitched in included Northern Nurseries, Raisanen Landscaping, Cast Lighting, T&S Welding, Sweetser Hydroseeding, and the Meat House of Bedford, which provided lunches for workers.
“This is one job that nobody complained about the hours,” said David Habib, director of dealer support for StoneMakers.
Jordan said he wasn't quite sure what to make of the crowd when he came home.
“I had no idea what was going on. I thought maybe the neighbors were having a party or something,” he said.
It won't be long before the Jordans host their own party in the backyard.
Katie Jordan said the transformation was better than anything she could have imagined.
“It's perfect,” she said.
Their 4-year-old daughter, Olivia, agreed.
“I like it. It's really pretty,” she said before running across the bridge to check out the waterfall.
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Jason Schreiber may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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